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Students ready for caps and gowns





Ed Hammond and Linda Kenne are retiring from their leadership positions in education this summer, and this weekend's graduation ceremonies will be the final ones at their respective schools.

But both would be the first to say this weekend isn't about them, but about the students whose hands they will shake as they come through graduation lines.

From Fort Hays State University, where outgoing President Hammond will watch thousands of graduates accept diplomas today and Saturday, to Victoria High School, where retiring USD 388 Superintendent Kenne will congratulate 18 graduates Sunday, nearly 4,000 graduates will be recognized in Ellis County for their accomplishments during the next three days.

FHSU alone has more than 3,000 graduates in two separate ceremonies. Those receiving advanced degrees will participate in commencement at 6 p.m. today in Gross Memorial Coliseum. An undergraduate ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Saturday.

More than 150 graduates will be honored later in the day on the FHSU campus Saturday, at ceremonies involving students from the Hays campus of North Central Kansas Technical College.

The pinning ceremony for the nursing program will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center in FHSU's Sheridan Hall. Graduation ceremonies for students in 14 different programs is set for 3 p.m., also in Beach/Schmidt.

A total of 103 students will receive one-year certificates, while 51 more will receive associate of applied science degrees. The speaker will be Gina Riedel, the human resource director for Lang Diesel Inc., and former executive director of the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ellis High School's graduation also is Saturday, while Victoria and Hays High School both are scheduled for Sunday. Following is information about the three high school graduations this weekend. Graduation at Hays' private high school, Thomas More Prep-Marian, will be May 25.

* Ellis -- Graduation for 30 graduates is set for 2 p.m. Saturday in the school gymnasium. Four co-valedictorians will be honored -- Sidney Gottschalk, Abigail Hafliger, Scott Pfeifer and Skyler Tebo.

* Victoria -- Baccalaureate Mass is at 10 a.m. Sunday at St. Fidelis Catholic Church; graduation at 1 p.m. in VHS auditorium. Four graduates chosen by their classmates to speak are Rylee Broyles and Brooke Schmidt, who will give the welcome, and Kristin Huser and Audra Nowak, the farewell. Valedictorian and salutatorian will be announced during the ceremonies.

* Hays High -- Baccalaureate at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at 12th Street Auditorium; graduation of 170 students will be at 3 p.m. at FHSU GMC. Speaker is math teacher Jerold Harris.

Recognition will go to students who finished high school with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages.